The RCMP say it’s illegal. Health Canada says it’s illegal. City hall says it’s illegal.
But, for many chronic pain sufferers in Kamloops, the Canadian Safe Cannabis Society ( CSCS ) is the safest way there is to get high-grade marijuana.
On Tuesday morning ( Nov. 1 ), Kamloops RCMP raided the society’s North Kamloops storefront, seizing drugs, business records and computers — and arresting owner Carl Anderson.
However, one day later, it appeared to be business as usual at 405 Tranquille Rd.
Kamloops RCMP Staff Sgt. Grant Learned said police obtained a warrant to search the society based on the findings of a four-month investigation.
Police believe CSCS had been operating outside the law — in violation of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and federal medicinal-marijuana access regulations.
CSCS opened earlier this year and remains the only so-called “compassion club” in the Kamloops area.
According to CSCS users, clients need to present a doctor’s note or medicinal-marijuana licence in order to be served.
But, that doesn’t make compassion clubs like CSCS legal.
“No, they’re not legal,” said Olivia Caron, a spokesperson with Health Canada.
Caron said licensed users of medicinal pot have three options — get their marijuana from Health Canada, grow the product themselves or get the pot from a “designated” grower.
Not only is CSCS operating in contravention of the law and Health Canada regulations, it’s also potentially breaking business bylaws.
The City of Kamloops is looking into whether the society is in violation of its business licence.
Dave Jones, the city’s property-use inspector, said municipal investigators were alongside Mounties as the search warrant was executed at on Tuesday.
CSCS’s business licence is for an “administration office,” Jones said – — meaning no selling allowed.
“He is not licensed to operate as any kind of retail outlet,” Jones said, noting the city’s senior management is now looking into the issue.
Jones said the City of Kamloops does not “issue business licences for criminal activity,” so he’s not sure what would happen if CSCS applied for a retail licence.
Anderson has yet to be charged, but police have said drug-trafficking charges are pending, as well as a possible charge of obstructing a peace officer.
For users of CSCS, the legalities of the society are not the issue.
They just want to manage their pain.
CSCS client Nadia Tahara said she suffers from fibromyalgia, a disorder that causes chronic muscle pain.
She said she has tried pharmaceuticals, but they do not work.
She said marijuana does work for her.
“I shouldn’t have to go to a crack house to get my medicine,” she said.
“It’s dignity, right? I should not have to go on the street and find some shady guy just to get some marijuana.”
Tahara said Anderson is trying to help people.
“He’s not a drug dealer. He’s not a biker,” she said.
“He believes what he is doing is helping us.”
Tahara will continue to go to CSCS to get her marijuana as long as it’s open.
“I don’t believe what I’m doing is against the law,” she said.
“I guess technically it is, but I could go to the doctor right now and get big buckets full of oxycontin.
“Is that any better?”